It's the first time in 50 years that a president has rescinded government land protections.
(Washington, DC)—[Whitehouse.gov] On Monday, President Trump signed a proclamation to scale back two national monuments in Utah—Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument—in an attempt to "reverse federal overreach and restore the rights" of land to the citizens of Utah. (Photo: Bears Ears National Monument/Flickr/via Medium)
The following are comments by leaders supporting the move:
Gov. Gary Herbert (R-UT): "By acting on Secretary Zinke's thoughtful recommendations, President Trump has restored balance to our public lands discussion. We are pleased that Utahan's once again have a voice in the process of determining appropriate uses of these public lands that we love. By reducing these super-sized monuments to a size consistent with the intent of the law, new doors of dialogue have opened up that will allow thoughtful, long-term protection of these federal lands."
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): "I'm thrilled and grateful to President Trump and Secretary Zinke for giving [Utahans] a voice in the protection of Utah lands. The President's proclamation represents a balanced solution and a win for everyone on all sides of this issue. It also represents a new beginning in the way national monuments are designated, paving the way for more local input, and taking into account the actual letter and intent of the Antiquities Act, which calls for the 'smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.'"
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT): "President Trump did the people of Utah a great favor today by rolling back harmful land use restrictions in southern Utah. #utpol"
Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT): "I applaud President Trump for recognizing the limitations of the law. Americans of all political stripes should commend him for reversing prior administrations' abuses of the Antiquities Act and instead exercising his powers within the scope of authority granted by Congress. These new proclamations are a first step towards protecting identified antiquities without disenfranchising the local people who work and manage these areas. The next steps will be to move beyond symbolic gestures of protection and create substantive protections and enforcement and codify in law a meaningful management role for local governments, tribes and other stakeholders."
Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT): "The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument resides in my district. I have seen firsthand the damage that the monument has caused to the local economy. My constituents have been in a desperate need of change, and today President Trump delivered ... He listened to local voices that had been left out of the decision-making process for too long. On behalf of the county commissioners, the state legislators who represent the area, and the entire federal delegation, we say thank you, Mr. President."
Rep. John Curtis (R-UT): "I am grateful to the President for coming to Utah to help us resolve this important issue. Now that the President has created two new monuments in my congressional district, the time has come for congress to ensure that these sites are managed the right way."
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ): "Today's announcement by President Trump shows that he and Secretary Zinke are committed to smart, restrained and proper application of the Antiquities Act. His decision takes power from unaccountable Washington bureaucrats doing the dirty work of special-interest groups and gives it back to the people where it belongs... Thank you, President Trump, for keeping another promise and taking action to ensure past presidents' abuse of a more than one hundred-year-old law doesn't lock-up the west."
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ): "The west has been negatively affected for decades, and government has not constrained its unlawful acquisition of these lands ... I am glad that the two monuments will be significantly reduced, and I trust that the Trump administration will continue to relinquish the federal government's grasp on these lands."
Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID): "I support President Trump's decision to correct his predecessors' overreach and scale back the monument designations to reflect local concerns and respect the right of ordinary Americans to make a living."
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO): "I support the President's decision. This rolls back harmful overreach by the previous administration. Instead of using the law to protect antiquities, it's been wrongfully used to restrict development. It's also made it more difficult to take care of our national lands."
Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN): "The President's action today and the House's action to pass the MINER Act last week demonstrate a renewed commitment of returning power from Washington bureaucrats back to the states. It's high time the federal government allow local economies to flourish and trust the land to the people who live there."
State Sen. Wayne Niederhauser (R-UT) & State Rep. Greg Hughes (R-UT): "We are grateful President Trump has listened to the people's voice and the elected representatives of our state. We look forward to him following through on his promise to Utah voters by undoing much of President Obama's Bears Ears National Monument designation. This is great news for the residents of southern Utah who depend on the use of public lands for their livelihoods and the Native Americans who depend on access to Bears Ears lands for their material and spiritual needs."
San Juan County Commissioner Rebecca Benally (D-UT): "Thank you President Trump. Thank you for not being a typical politician and passing us over. Thank you for caring about San Juan County. We may be only 15,000 strong, but we matter. We appreciate you willing to take the backlash from the special interest groups as you stand for the people and the economy of San Juan County."
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke: "I thank President Trump for his leadership on the Monument Review and for keeping his promise to make sure the rural voice is heard once again. The people of Utah overwhelmingly voiced to us that public land should be protected not for the special interests, but for the citizens of our great country who use them, and this is what President Trump is doing today. Bears Ears and Grand Staircase will remain under federal protection, will adhere to the spirit and letter of the Antiquities Act, and—even after our modification—combined will still be nearly twice the size of Rhode Island."
FreedomWorks Foundation President Adam Brandon: "Today we applaud President Trump, Interior Secretary Zinke, and their teams for arriving at this reasonable approach to these national monuments... Unilaterally declaring national monuments larger than some states is ridiculous on its face. We know our activists in Utah and across the country appreciate the Trump administration's more humble approach to the power of his pen and phone."